Trumpeter and composer, W. Lee Hogans finds truth in the words of the charismatic Louis Armstrong, “What we play is life!” Maintaining an aggressive path of professional achievement in his own right, Lee’s journey as a musician has been guided far beyond his native of Atlanta, where he began studying music at the age of ten. Now, several years later, Lee’s diligence has paid off as he continues to fashion a style of music distinctly his own.
Quickly gaining notoriety by working with giants in the entertainment industry, Lee’s experience covers the gamut. He is a band member of legendary pop icon, Prince and played with him at the 2008 Academy Awards/Oscars Party. They’ve also played together at the club 02 in London following a performance with him during the 2007 Super Bowl week in Miami and a stint at Club 3121 in Las Vegas. Lee also jumped at the opportunity to tour with media mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs’ on the Press Play world tour, where the band made numerous guest television appearances. Lee has also found distinct pleasure in playing with Hidden Beach Recording Artist, Mike Phillips, performing at annual events including the Tom Joyner Cruise, Essence Festival and the BET Jazz Festival.
When not playing with such notables, Lee is persistently cultivating his sound and skill as a trumpeter and composer leading his own band, Pursuance (with bandmates Jesse Fischer, Seth Johnson, Josh David and Jerome Jennings). Encompassing the worlds of Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Soul, Lee’s stylistic influences range from Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard to James Brown and Run DMC. Having completed his debut album with Pursuance, The Vibe Orientation (which has received airplay on The Weather Channel and XM Radio), Lee’s focus as a composer centers on strong catchy grooves with beautiful hypnotic melodies. His brilliant tone, excellent articulation, and dynamic lyricism provide much range to artistically stretch out while Pursuance dazzles audiences at a number of destination venues throughout New York and New Jersey.
Lee’s sense of composition and delivery developed through years of musical study. Under the tutelage of renowned trumpeter Danny Harper, Lee received first-hand instruction on theory, improvisation, composition, and technical style; a foundation which further developed his skill and ability as a trumpeter. While studying with Mr. Harper, Lee attended Georgia State University (GSU), where he gained knowledge of classical music under Mark Hughes, principal trumpeter of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Balancing his formal study with essential on-stage experience, Lee began playing at Atlanta’s premier jazz club, Churchill Grounds until graduating from GSU with Honors.
In 2003, Lee earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Performance from Rutgers University under the guidance of renowned jazz educators William Fielder and Clark Terry. Since completing his formal education, Lee has continued to make influential moves in his career as a trumpeter-in-demand, diligently making a name for himself in New York City. When not touring with any number of prominent musicians and performance acts, Lee is in the recording studio lacing tracks with his relevant signature, having recorded with Fantasia, Missy Elliot, Sheila E, and on Prince’s new album, Planet Earth.